Type of Visas
- The majority of international students pursuing Language Training, Bachelor, Master, or Doctoral programs at Ohio University typically apply for F-1 visas. Spouses and children of F-1 visa holders are assigned an F-2 visa. Students issued form I-20 by Ohio University will apply for F-1 visas in order to enter the United States.
- J-1 visas are given to researchers, scholars, and students who are sponsored by government agencies or universities, often through existing Exchange agreements with Ohio University and their home educational institution. Spouses and children of these visitors are assigned J-2 visas. Students issued form DS-2019 by Ohio University will apply for J-1 visas in order to enter the United States.
- The United States visa for F-1 and J-1 students is a transit document, and it is crucial for entry or re-entry to the United States only. You cannot enter the United States with an expired visa with the exception made for cases of automatic visa revalidation. Click here for more information about automatic visa revalidation.
- If your US visa expires while you are inside of the US you do not need to worry as long as you are maintaining your immigration status. Please click here to learn more about how to successfully maintain your F-1status. If you are a J-1 student, click here to learn about how to successfully maintain your J-1 status.
- If you need to leave the U.S. temporarily during a break, vacation, or emergency, the Office of International Student and Faculty Services will counsel you on how to obtain a new visa. Click here if you are a J-1. Click here if you are a F-1.
Obtaining a Visa
If you have been admitted to Ohio University and have completed all the necessary requirements, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions or Graduate College will issue you one of the following documents:
- Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student (F-1) Status)
- Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status)
U.S. Embassy / Consulate Requirements
You must schedule your visa interview with the nearest US embassy or consulate in your home country. For those residing in countries without a US embassy or consulate, you must contact US embassies or consulates in neighboring countries in order to schedule your interview.
When you appear for your interview, make sure that you have:
- Ohio University's Form I-20 or DS-2019
- Valid passport for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S.
- Payment receipt for the SEVIS I-901 fee
- Evidence of your funding. This evidence should match the funding information submitted with your admission documents which is also displayed on your immigration document
You can read some independent guidance on the visa interview process here.
Preparing for Entry
You should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has authority to deny admission at the US port-of-entry. You should be very careful to have all your documents (see below) in order upon arrival.
- A valid passport
- A valid U.S. F-1/J-1 visa
- A valid I-20/DS-2019
The Form I-94, "Arrival/Departure Record" is a critical record. It shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, the class of admission, and the authorized period of stay. It is very important that the information on the record is correct. Inconsistencies between the information on the Form I-94 and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records can reduce the chances of a successful systems interface. In particular, this can cause issues with status verification for Social Security numbers.
If you arrive by a land port, you will receive a paper Form I-94. If you arrive at the port of entry by air or sea, an automated Form I-94 record will automatically be generated for you by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. CBP will provide you with an admission stamp on your passport that is annotated with date of admission, class of admission and admitted-until date. The electronic I-94 record can be obtained here.
At the port-of-entry
At the port-of-entry, a CBP inspector will record and issue the I-94, verify your travel documents, and stamp your passport with an official entry to the United States. It is unlikely that your form I-20 or DS-2019 will be stamped. This official entry indicates the entry date, location and non-immigrant classification and length of authorized stay. They will return to you your passport and the Form I-20 or the DS-2019.
The officer at the port of entry will report your arrival to SEVIS electronically. Ohio University will receive that report. You should plan to report to Ohio University by the arrival date on your Form I-20 or DS-2019 and attend international student orientation to register for classes. It is essential that you report to Ohio University following the above guidelines. We are required to report this information to federal immigration officials if you do not.
All admitted international students in F-1 and J-1 status are required to pay the United States federal SEVIS I-901 fee upon receipt of their form I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students). Students will be required to enter their SEVIS ID number (found at the top right-hand side of the immigration form above the barcode and beginning with N) as well as basic biographical information when registering to pay their fee. Information and fee payment can be found here. The SEVIS fee is a required fee and proof of fee payment is necessary in order to apply for a visa to enter the United States prior to enrollment at Ohio University.